The character of God: Good. We strive to be good. What does that entail? Is it possible to attain? Let’s see…
Before we look at the goodness of God, let’s take a look at the heart of mankind:
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations* fill their hearts. 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
*6:16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community [among the brethren].
When we give our lives to Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us (see Gal. 2:20), He begins the process of sanctification/transformation. Jesus (via the Spirit) teaches us His way, which is the way of God. We learn to be GOOD. But, what does that process entail? Paul describes it:
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
First, we must unlearn what we have learned. We are to put off what we were taught by life and by others, with regard to our former way of life; to put off our old selves, which are being corrupted by their deceitful desires. How were we? Just look at our Proverbs text for the day! Our hearts were deceitful and wicked above all things and beyond cure. Jesus came in and replaced our natural heart with a new heart, one that beats with the rhythm of heaven. It is that heart to which we are attuning our lives.
Second, we are to be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This is where we live, learning to be like God.
Before we go any further, let’s get something straight. For Christians, Practice makes PROGRESS, not perfect. Our perfection will not ever be complete until we are out of these old-covenant bodies. It is this final process that makes death so glorious! For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 Until then, we walk with Jesus emulating Him as truth is revealed to us. It’s a continuous and progressive process. Precept upon precept. Somehow, Jesus takes our mistakes that we make out of habit, listening to our old nature, and our ignorance of holiness and works them out for our good.
Sure, it’s messy! Jesus KNOWS this very well. He lived here, remember? But He is already looking forward to our re-creation as we transition to His world and His kingdom. Our hope is not in being perfect in this world, but becoming like the company we keep: Jesus!
Let’s spend today aware of His presence in our lives. Let’s listen to Him as He comments on every thought we have as well as the things that are going on around us. Remember that His voice doesn’t condemn, but rather convicts by shining light on things that need fixing, adjusting, or replacing. He is always pleased with us because we are His. He is always humble and gentle with us and has no expectations of us, only the hope that we will learn to listen to Him and enjoy His company. Everything else will either fall away or fall into place as His character, His GOODNESS, transforms our character into His likeness.
#WalkWithJesus=LJPHG (Love, Joy, Peace, Hope and Grace)